Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has hit back at "inappropriate" claims London could host the 2020 Olympics if the Japanese capital is unable to due to the coronavirus outbreak.
London Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey claimed the city "can host the Olympics in 2020" and the world "might need us to step up" due to the virus, which has so far killed more than 2200 people and infected more than 76,000 globally.
"London can host the #Olympics in 2020," Bailey tweeted on Thursday (NZ time).
"We have the infrastructure, the experience. And due to the #coronavirus outbreak, the world might need us to step up. As Mayor, I will make sure London is ready to answer the call and host the Olympics again."
In response, Koike claimed it was "not appropriate to try to make it an issue in a mayoral election".
She felt Japan was being unfairly criticised due to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Tokyo, which had more than 600 reported cases of the virus on board.
"A reason why this issue has attracted global attention is due to the cruise ship," Koike said.
"But the cruise ship's nationality belongs to Britain. I wish aspects like these would be well understood."
The International Olympic Committee has said the World Health Organisation advised it that there was no case for contingency plans to cancel or relocate the Games from Tokyo despite its declaration of a global emergency.
The most notable event to be cancelled is the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing from March 13-15, while the Singapore and Hong Kong legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series have been moved from April to October.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori has also remained defiant and blasted what he claimed were "irresponsible" rumours surrounding whether the Games would take place as planned.
Koike claimed she does not foresee any changes to the schedule for the Games, which begin with the Olympics Opening Ceremony on July 24.
"I think we are not yet reaching that point," Koike said.
London last hosted the Olympics in 2012.